Sunday, October 4, 2009

Exploring Mendocino County

We have never been up to Mendocino or Fort Brag area before and heard there is a lot to see and do there. So today we thought we would go exploring and see all that Mendocino County has to offer. We drove up the scenic coast line stopping at a few of the state parks along the way. The 1st one on our list was Van Damme State Park, then we went to the pygmy forest to take the short self-guided tour. The Pygmy forest is an area where poor soil and highly acidic soils create a clay hardpan. The area is a marshy ecosystem of stunted rhododendrons mature, cone-bearing cypress and pine trees that stand just six inches to eight feet tall. The trees in this area are over a 100 years old and only grow and inch per year. One really cool facts that Noah shared with us was how Walt Disney wanted to use miniatures trees for his story book ride. He did not want to use fake plastic trees and real trees would get to big. He had heard about this area and had his people recreate the soil condition and bring a few of the plants to Disneyland for that particular ride. So the next time you go to Disneyland check out the storybook ride. In the picture you can see the tall pines in the background but the area we were looking at only had the stunted trees. Our 2nd stop was at the small town of Mendocino itself. We drove down main street and stopped at the Ford House which is now the visitor center. The Ford House shows Mendocino's early settlement era. There is a small display of Native American artifacts and a scale model of the town as it was in 1890. Throughout the house, old photographs, tools and relics relate the saga of the telling of the redwoods to the shipping of the lumber aboard the legendary doghole schooners. As we continue up north we stopped to eat lunch and explore Russian Gulch State Park. We took a walk out to the headlands and walked out to another Devils punch bowl. It is being eroded by the ocean waves, but still looked pretty cool. On our way back we took in the breathtaking views of the ocean and the state park. You couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day. Its not everyday that sun is shinning on this part of the California coast.

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